Whether you’re a foodie, a chicken nugget connoisseur, a Disney pro, or a first timer, Walt Disney World offers some super under-the-radar dining experiences that can add value to your vacation.
Some provide a little education, others put you in touch with the animal kingdom, and still others are just plain fun.
Here are some special under-the-radar experiences you can
ONLY have at Walt Disney World…And ONLY The Pros Know About!
Note that many of these experiences have been suspended during the reopening of Disney World post the pandemic-related closures. Many may still be suspended or otherwise unavailable during your upcoming trip. Be sure to check with Disney to see what will be available during your vacation and check back with us for more updates.
Dine with an Animal Specialist — Temporarily Unavailable
If you love Disney’s Animal Kingdom — and the animal kingdom in general — you may want to Dine with an Animal Specialist. This delicious experience takes place at a private reserved table at Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Sanaa, where participants will dine on the famed Indian-style bread service, plus entree options to suit every palate. (Find one of our latest reviews of Sanaa here to see what to expect!)
While you dine, you’ll hear from an Animal Specialist who will share facts about wildlife care, research, and conservation. Of course, you’ll also be able to look out onto one of the resort’s four savannas, where you just might spot some of the wildlife you’re talking about! And because this lunch is limited to 12 people (8 years and older only), there’s plenty of time to ask questions, too.
Cake Decorating Experience at Amorette’s Patisserie — Temporarily Unavailable
There’s nothing better than learning cake decorating from true experts, and that’s just what guests receive when they sign up to participate in the Cake Decorating Experience at Amorette’s Patisserie. In this 90-minute experience, you’ll be guided by Amorette’s pastry chefs through the steps needed to decorate one of the Patisserie’s classic Mickey dome cakes (or the Artist’s Choice Character Dome Cake, depending on the day of the week).
Then you’ll get to decorate one of your very own! This small-group experience concludes with you taking home (or to your hotel!) your very own cake! Plus there are alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages included in the fun.
We reviewed this experience when it first began in 2017, and it was a blast! For guests looking to get a little creative, who love cake, or who want to see what goes into a pastry masterpiece, Amorette’s Cake Decorating Experience is a must!
The Sommelier Room at Citricos
The Grand Floridian’s Citricos previously offered a chef’s table experience called The Chef’s Domain. This exclusive dining experience gave guests the option of dining from the regular menu or a chef-created menu. Cost was $800 minimum purchase for up to 12 guests, plus tax and gratuity.
In 2021, Disney announced that Citricos would be offering a new and exclusive Sommelier’s Room experience. According to a few Disney Cast Members we spoke to, this experience has essentially replaced The Chef’s Domain. But, things at Disney World can change, so be sure to check for the latest updates.
In the new Sommelier’s Room experience, Sommelier Israel Perez and his team source boutique wines that pair with the special creations designed by Chef Andres Mendoza.
We spoke to a Disney Cast Member from Citricos who indicated that the experience is for 4 to 8 guests. The experience can, however, accommodate up to 10 guests. But any bookings for over 8 guests will require the approval of the proprietor. The average cost is around $250 per person.
If you’re looking for a unique dining experience, you can email [email protected] for more information and to book your reservation for the Sommelier’s Room experience. You can also call 407-824-2450 or 407-824-3000 to speak to a Cast Member about the experience.
The experience is only available on select dates and seating is limited, so be sure to make your reservation as far in advance as possible (currently 60 days, but subject to change).
Dine with an Imagineer — Temporarily Unavailable
In this small-group experience, diners will enjoy a good meal and even better conversation with a Walt Disney Imagineer! Guests are treated to a four-course meal in either Hollywood Studios’ Hollywood Brown Derby or Grand Floridian’s Citricos. Throughout the meal, they’ll hear stories from an Imagineer and are encouraged to ask questions.
This one-of-a-kind behind-the-scenes meal is a must-do for Disney fans who want to know how Disney makes magic! The Dine with an Imagineer experience, when available, generally only happens about once a month, so you’ll want to book it in advance (and maybe even plan your trip around it!).
Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise
If you like to get a new perspective on the World, the Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise is a fun way to do so!
This experience carries guests aboard one of Disney’s ferryboats out onto Seven Seas Lagoon for a view of Magic Kingdom’s fireworks! The experience begins with a beverage at the Transportation and Ticket Center, sets off with an entertaining crew that shares the backstory of the ferryboat, and includes a selection of treats and specialty drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) themed to the show! Kids can enjoy a scavenger hunt, too!
We reviewed the Ferrytale Fireworks when it became available again in Disney World in 2021 (click here to read all about it!), and it’s a unique way to enjoy a lovely night on the water — with a side of fireworks!
Highway in the Sky Dine Around — Temporarily Unavailable
Progressive dining is the centerpiece of the Highway in the Sky Dine Around, a dining experience that takes guests from Disney’s Contemporary Resort to the Polynesian Village Resort, the Grand Floridian, and back to the Contemporary — all on Disney World’s own Highway in the Sky: the Monorail!
When we experienced this back in 2020, the meal began with a cocktail and appetizer at The Wave…of American Flavors. Note that The Wave has since closed and Steakhouse 71 has replaced it. Back in 2020, the experience continued on to the Polynesian for island-inspired drinks and apps.
Next, guests sipped on champagne and enjoyed cheese and charcuterie at the Grand Floridian, where they were also treated to the Chef’s main course at Citricos.
When the group returned to the Contemporary, they’d receive desserts, cordials, and coffee on a private patio from which they’d watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks. When available, this experience can sell out quickly, so be sure to reserve your spot early when it’s being offered.
Wanyama Safari — Temporarily Unavailable
Wanyama Safari is another way to experience Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge’s savannas — and excellent dining! This 90-minute tour of the savannas includes an experienced guide who will share information about the animals around you as well as the history and management of the animals and the architecture of the resort. Bring your camera for some up-close pics of the savanna’s many inhabitants!
But safari-ing makes one hungry, so guests are treated to a selection of bites at Jiko — The Cooking Place in the ground floor of Jambo House! Eats may include North African-style chicken, African dips and breads, desserts, and South African wine pairings. When available, you should reserve your spot early, and prepare for a fun afternoon and evening.
It’s not hard to find a unique experience at Walt Disney World, but these offer something special that not so many guests know about. Have you tried them??
Find out about LOTS more amazing dining adventures and unique events in our DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining! We have full details on EVERY Disney Dining event available as well as ALL of our recommendations, Disney discount details, planning resources, and MORE. DON’T MISS OUT!
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Have you done any of these events? Tell us in the comments!